"Hairy Women"

So, LVC is a group of young activists concerned about community, simplicity, sustainability, social justice, defying conventional societal norms, anti-racism, and many other things. For some LVCers, the "defying conventional societal norms" means more than just extricating oneself from the standard American consumerist/capitalist mindset.

For many LVC women, this means deciding that their internal merit is far more important than their physical appearance - many opt to go without make-up. Some take it a step further and do not shave their arms or legs, or pluck their eyebrows... and a daring two or three have decided that there is no real reason for them to shave any of their body hair. Yes, this means hairy female armpits.

I fully support this decision in theory, and want to believe that since I was simply socialized to find smooth armpits and legs attractive, I could be socialized out of the belief. I know that I would be somewhat uncomfortable if Lisa decided to stop shaving her armpits or legs - but I know intellectually that expecting her to shave her body is an outmoded, sexist convention that I could get over.

As I was thinking about this, and about how much I respect the two women I've met this week (there might be more) who do not shave their armpits, I found myself thinking about my face, and how I haven't shaved in a couple days. And - wait. Why do I shave my face again?

I tried to rationalize it, but realize that the only reason I shave my facial hair is because I don't have enough to grow a full beard, and I think my half-grown peach fuzz is unattractive - unattractive. Much like women shave their armpits and legs because they think the alternative is unattractive. Or maybe they don't? I've heard from women that they wear make-up and/or shave because they like to look pretty or whatever, not because they feel this intense pressure from society (necessarily). But many women have never tried the alternative, I think, because of the social repercussions...

And if they've been socialized that way, and I think that's potentially oppressive, then is not my desire to shave my face also oppressive in some way? But my face feels itchy when I don't shave it. And it's uncomfortable for Lisa when I kiss her or whatever. And... well, there are quite a few more issues as well, chief among them my inability as a male to really understand what's going on with women and their physical selves and understandings of beauty and whatever.

So... to shave or not to shave?

Bonus! Pedro the Lion's "When They Really Get To Know You They Will Leave:"

1 comment:

  1. You are a Nut! I laughed out loud this morning reading your blog! "To shave or not to shave" and please get me "Health Care" -- Hairy armpits or not....Love you Elliott, Mom.